Saturday, April 03, 2010

Bill Gates Remembers Personal Computer Pioneer - Digits - WSJ

See the full article for more historical details

I went on leave from Harvard in June and negotiated the license agreement with MITS in July. Microsoft got a royalty for each BASIC sold. Then we wrote fancier versions of the BASIC - 8k Basic, Extended Basic and Disk Basic. Paul actually worked for MITS as VP of Software although I did not. We got a software library going and wrote regular articles for the Altair newsletter that David Bunnell was hired by MITS to create. I gave my first speech at an Altair convention. MITS got a big GM van and went around the country helping to set up computer clubs.

The Altair was the first personal computer by most definitions of the term. It was before the Apple 1 or any other machine people know. A company in Canada sold a few machines and MCM in France sold a few machines but they were a bit after MITS and not aimed at low price high volume. MITS sold over 10,000 of the Altairs and had to hire people to deal with the volume. Ed deserves to be called the father of the personal computer.

Bill Gates Remembers Personal Computer Pioneer - Digits - WSJ

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